What’s Next: How smart social media sells beauty
A brand or a product can be timeless and classic, but it will still need to adapt and change in order to remain relevant. The age of e-commerce and Internet communication has been daunting for some established businesses – especially when it comes to social media. All of a sudden, their customer base is fast-forwarding past their big-budget commercials and favoring tiny, pocket-sized screens over glossy magazines. Many newer brands, however, were born in the digital age and are thriving in the environment of blogs and Youtube videos.
E-commerce cottage industries Morphe, Makeup Geek, Wayne Goss Brushes and Gerard Cosmetics have built their entire business models around social media and online selling. Individually, they are still off the radar, but collectively they represent a significant dollar amount that is seeping out of traditional beauty channels. According to GMDC, beauty sales in the drug and mass market declined in 2014 by 16.1% and 2.2%, respectively, while online beauty sales surged by 15.4%. There are also indie brands like ELF, Real Techniques, Yes To and Anastasia of Beverly Hills that have built a significant presence in brick-and-mortar stores because they mastered the art and science of social media to become competitive with their marketing budgets.
For Makeup Geek, Wayne Goss Brushes and Real Techniques, the customers actually came before the products. All three of these brands were started by Youtube personalities with huge followings. Marlena started Makeup Geek with her personal savings, and her top-quality, affordable pigments and eye shadows are some of the most popular on Youtube. Her marketing mainly consists of introducing new products through her own videos and sending free samples to the fellow Youtube gurus she has built relationships with over the years. The Youtubers she sponsors are effective ambassadors for the line because they genuinely love both her and her products. Real Techniques is probably Youtube’s biggest success story. The brushes in this line were created by the Pixiwoo sisters, and are now sold in both the United States and the United Kingdom at such major retailers as Ulta and Bed, Bath and Beyond.
The brand Yes To has become a significant mass market retail brand thanks in large part to smart social media. The company learned early on what marketing to millennials was really about when their splashy, $3 million magazine ad campaign flopped in 2007. They followed this with a social media modeling contest that was wildly successful. Ingrid Jackel, CEO of Yes To, explained that they maintain a vibrant presence in the digital world. “We focus on educating and engaging our social fans and followers through fun, relevant content, while also increasing awareness of in-store promotional activity,” she said.
The brand has never fallen into the trap that sinks many branded social media campaigns — a focus on pushing products rather that connecting to their target audience. “Our approachable manner on social media makes it easy for consumers to join the conversation,” Jackel said. “We like to think of ourselves as the fun friend you want to sit next to at the dinner party. We have interesting stories to tell, but also are curious and ask questions too. Our amazing fans and followers readily engage and give us feedback on what they love. We then use this feedback to tailor future content to focus on more of what they want to see.”
Yes To posts content frequently and regularly with gorgeous photography. “We keep a consistent thread of bright color in our images and always a sense of sass in our copy,” said Jackel. She also noted that the key to successful branded social media is a strong visual identity and voice.
What’s Next is a weekly feature of Drug Store News, written by consumer beauty blogger Lonni Delane. The goal is to help give beauty merchants the cutting edge they need to stay ahead of the latest and greatest beauty trends.
Amazon further expands Prime Now offerings
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